1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The universal idea that governs social ceremonies are in grades. These ceremonies are categorically measured in term of celebration. Thus, it is not just done, but is it a cultural norms and values that build a strong relationship. This therefore brings the definition of social ceremony to be an interactive and demonstrative measure in line with cultural values to awaken relationship that promote common identity. In Ukanafun we have types of festivals such as New yam festival, Ekpo festival, traditional wresting, Christmas, etc. As such, the intensity of social ceremonies are basically measured in term of classes.
The High class, top politicians, royal families, professional workers, like engineers, doctors, etc.
The average class; average farmers, teachers (08 to 12), etc. Lower class; subsistent farmers, common labourers, roadside mechanics, bicycle repairers etc. people living in this area are not consistent in term of celebration as a result of struggling to cumulate the celebration of the people in high class in other to make their name famous. It is conspicuously noted that the negative aspect overwhelms the positive aspect. This is seen in the outright sales of property, giving of landed property on pledge and collecting of loans from banks and cooperative society to make the celebration booming.
The irony of burial celebration is so transparent. Many people celebrate death. When someone that would have contributed positively to the life of the living died, people spent millions of naira to buy goats, cows, caskets, rice assorted drinks etc. in other give a name to burial. It happens that celebration of this kind is no more on age now but on the level of potentiality to spend. The negative serene of this is also recorded on the poor economic development of the people living in the environs, stealing low of educational development, suicide, fear and depression. Additionally, the positive impact of social ceremonies is that people use it as source to appease the gods of the land, by this, the African culture is valued and promoted, this significantly promotes the business of the goats, cows, rice, caskets dealers as well as the musical instrumentalists. For the purpose of this topic, the work will only focus on the expensive social ceremonies on Ukanafun L.G.A, a case study of marriage and burial rites.
The aims of the study are:
To identify the expensive social ceremonies
To examine why people engaging expenses
To assess the impact of expensive ceremonies on the people of Ukanafun
To suggest ways that would discourage expensive ceremonies
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
i. The research work will provide information with regard to social ceremonies in Ukanafun Local Government Area.
ii. It will serve as a mean to overcome poverty, fear and depression as a result of overwhelming engagement of social celebration mostly on marriage and burial.
iii. It will serve as a source of giving information to the problem of social ceremonies and ways of solving the problems attach to them.
iv. It will also picture on the important of cultural values, and norms of the people of Ukanafun Local Government Area.
1.4 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Although we have many scholars, they have not worked on the impact of social ceremonies as regard to the people of Ukanafun Local Government Area.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s many people did not pay attention to burial and marriage ceremonies as compare to what is happening in recent times. It has been revealed that the propensity to spending in social ceremonies is generated from the oil boom era of 1970s moving industries most especially the transition from military rule to civilian rule in 1999 and businessmen who had that opportunity to do business internationally, renounced politicians, professional worked, and the black Americans who traced their ancestral lineage to the people of Ukanafun.
More so, some politicians who are joyful to lavish money and some of the traditional monarch who are in dire need of maintaining the popularity of their royal background.
This research will draw the attention of Ukanafun people to the alarming problems of social ceremonies. It will reveal the nature of burial and marriages have been celebrated. It will compare the celebration of the late sixtie1960s and the early 1970s.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study is on the people of Ukanafun. It is predominantly focused on the impact of expensive social ceremonies on the people of Ukanafun. It is basically covered the period of late 1990s to the recent time. And how these positively and negatively influence the people living in Ukanafun Local Government Area.
The limitation was on time and financial constraints. The number of written materials on this particular research work are quite very few in number and information not exhaustive, thus, it was quite difficult to work on this. Again, I also find it difficult to meet with some of the interviewee because of ongoing genocide in the area.
1.7 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY SCOPE
The scope of this study is on expensive social ceremony on Ukanafun people. The Study is only delimited to Ukanafun Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State.
1.8 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The methodology applied in this research work is the historical research method. This method makes use of both primary and secondary sources for historical analysis and interpretation. Since death is inevitable and marriage is universally practised, the primary sources of data were mostly derived through oral interview of informants, in order to understand each individual’s perception pertaining to the subject matter.
1.9 LITERATURE REVIEW
In order to have a balance historical analysis on the subject of this research work, a wide range of existing and related literature, such as books, journals, and others sources have been reviewed so as to acquaint us with relevant information pertaining to this research work, revealed some gaps which needs to be filled, and also act as a stepping stone upon which this research will be built.
Elaborate ceremonies for marriage and the death have attracted criticisms of various people. The Greek philosopher Herodotus, in the forth century B. C, Spoke critically about what he called lavish displays for the death. However, in the traditional Ukanafun society, pressure to adhere to certain befitting burial and grand wedding/traditional marriage have a financial burden and consequences. In his famous work titled, sociology of the health and rehabilitation. E. I. Etobe capture the negative effect of befitting burial on the health of the bereave family.1
He see health as wealth, this assertion is precise and correct because when one is healthy, he/she can engage in a meaning socio-economic production. The inability of the family to lack medical attention due to high amount spent on burial can reduce the family’s labour production. This in turn can affect the family.2 Chances of having a harmonious functional socially psychological and economically. This is a very serious situation and calls for serious steps to correct this hazardous ignorance.. In recent times, the phenomenon of befitting burial is institutionalized. People believed that proper entertainment (food, meat and drinks) must be given by the deceased family, failure to do this will precipitate (cause) another death within that same family until the right thing is done.
According to Mender T., in his book titled; The Political Economy Of Burial Rite In Tiv Land “That an increase in funeral expenses also affects informal financial institution”. People have less money available to invest in these associations, more people ask for loans and more members have problems with repayment. Diverting saving and investment into befitting burial usually affect economic development of communities3.
In the work of O. U. Akpan, titled, Why Ukanafun is Economical Backward, one of the causes he captured was high amount of money usually invested in burial ceremonies which are non-profitable venture. According to him, some people, mostly the poor class obtain loan from Osusu club to bury their death ones. Some get loans from banks and cooperate organisations in order to make a mark in their burial ceremonies. That this has negative effect on the development of the Ukanafun.4
In the view of Uwem Akpan Uko, other societies members are also affected because they have assisted and aided members of the decease’s family to carry out befitting burial rites.5 This situation is worsened by the government (especially state and local governments), which spent huge amount of money to aid politicians to bury their dead in a flamboyant manner. This tends to negatively affect a society’s development in the sense that resources that would have been use for development projects in the society is lavishly spent for burials, instead of investing in human resources that would contribute to the development.
This limits the chances of given society in participating meaningfully in the development as their society. Although this directly affect individuals, the society is also indirectly affected because it loses the contributions and meaningful support the society’s members would have given if such resources are spent for their development. In the long-run, the pace of societal development is slowed down.
THE IMPACT OF EXPENSIVE SOCIAL CEREMONIES OF UKANAFUN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA: A CASE STUDY OF MARRIAGE AND BURIAL RITES SINCE 1999.